Best new centerfire semi auto pistol under $350?

Discussion in 'Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers' started by bestseller92, Dec 22, 2009.

  1. bestseller92

    bestseller92 New Member

    Mar 21, 2009
    I ask this simply as an exercise, since I'm not looking for a new full size semi auto right now. But the notion of being able to get a good, reliable self/home defense/target pistol for under $350 appeals to me. It isn't only the rich or well-off who need good, non-junk defense weapons.

    I'd have to say that two of the contenders would be the Smith and Wesson Sigma series and the Ruger P95 9mm. New P95s can be had in stainless guise for only $299, if you shop around. And I know from experience that the P95 is a uberreliable design. I've had mine since '98 with zero malfunctions.

    I see that the Smith Sigmas are about the same price, and they have a $50 rebate or two free magazines offer going right now. Great deal!

    What handgun gets your vote as the best "cheap" semi auto?
  2. OklahomaBrian

    OklahomaBrian New Member

    Jul 6, 2009
    Well I just got a new Rock Island Arms 1911 .45 for $400.I haven't tried it out yet.But....I do have a hi-point in .40.Alot of people don't like them but I have shot over 4000 rounds through it in the four years I have had it,not a single problem.Maybe mine is the exception but it hits a 5 inch group at 40 yards,maybe better if i was a better shot.And you could get 2 of them for $350. 1 to shoot,1 to throw if the other one fails,lol.

  3. Terry_P

    Terry_P New Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    Ruger P series auto's. Rugged, reliable but difficult to conceal.
  4. Helix_FR

    Helix_FR Active Member

    Apr 14, 2009
    Imperial, MO
    The sigma will give you nothing but problems, thats why they give the rebates and the free mags. Sounds like a great deal but it isn't worth the headache that the sigmas produce. You said "reliable", the sigma is not the way to go. P95 all the way. Look for used too. There is some fantastic used semi autos right in that price range.
  5. hogger129

    hogger129 Well-Known Member

    Nov 29, 2009
    I have a 5" Rock Island Armory 1911. I paid $500 for mine new, but this is also Wisconsin where they don't like guns, therefore the sellers can charge more. In many places you can get them for around what you are looking to spend. I think it's a really nice gun. I wish they made stainless steel finish on them, but parkerized is just fine. I'm sort of biased in favor of 1911s, but I think the RIA I have is a great pistol. I like 1911s because it's a pretty common design so you can find alot of stuff for them as far as parts & accessories. The design is pretty simple and familiar so they aren't too hard to take apart and reassemble and know what goes where. I've heard alot of people that like the Ruger P95's. So maybe that wouldn't be a bad choice if that's more of what you're looking for.

    As far as concealment, yeah a full size 1911 is going to be a little bit on the tough side, but there are ways to do it. The P95 is harder to conceal. I can't conceal carry here, but 1911's are preferable for concealment because they're so slim and I'd say the best one in terms of concealment and just to be a nice gun, I'd see if I could find like a used Colt Commander (little shorter barrel than the full size 5"). Plus a .45ACP with hollowpoints is going to give you much more takedown power if you ever had to draw your weapon than a 9mm will.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2009
  6. bestseller92

    bestseller92 New Member

    Mar 21, 2009
    I don't agree that the .45 with hollowpoints had "much more takedown power" than any 9mm load. With the right loads (Winchester Ranger 127 grain JHP +P, Federal 115 grain JHP +P+, etc.) the 9mm, according to actual gunfight stats, is actually pretty much on a par with the best .45 ACP loads.
  7. ninjatoth

    ninjatoth Former Guest

    Jul 3, 2009
    I agree and I don't buy into the .45 having a pendulum effect over the 9mm even with less energy.Energy is energy to me,and if a 9mm+p and a .45acp both produce 450 ft lbs-the knockdown power is the same to me.
  8. carver

    carver Moderator Supporting Member

    It's how the knock down power is produced. The 9mm does it with a small fast bullet, and the .45 does it with a slower larger bullet. Knock down power is not the way to judge a bullets performance on a given target. The knock down of the two calibers appear to be the same on paper, but would you deer hunt with a 9mm? If not, why?
  9. graehaven

    graehaven Well-Known Member

    May 26, 2007
    Rochester, NY
    The Sigma is a fine gun, I've had one for several years. The earlier models were problematic, but, the later ones are fine. I'm about to sell mine for a Glock though.

    After having owned both and fired both, I'd say save up for the Glock instead.
  10. Based on your comments you must have owned a Sigma that you experienced relability problems with.
    I bought a Sigma when they first came out. The only thing I did not like about it was the trigger. I returned it to the factory, they replaced the trigger spring and it has been great ever since. I have never had a FTF problem of any type.
    I also have several friends that have Sigmas and they have had no problems with them.
  11. bestseller92

    bestseller92 New Member

    Mar 21, 2009

    I wouldn't hunt deer with a 9mm or a .45, unless it was some kind of emergency situation.

    By the way, the Federal 115 grain +P+ JHP is available at for only $17 per box of 50 rounds. It's $19.59/box at CTD and $24.99 at CDNN.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2009
  12. 6x6pinz

    6x6pinz New Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    Mesa, Az
    The PK380 can be had for just under $350 and with the natural point and shoot feel and the ease on the hands especially when not fully awake along with its ability to be controlled by any family member it just makes sense.
  13. smcbigj

    smcbigj New Member

    Dec 18, 2009
    I got a P95 a few weeks ago as a present and it's worked perfectly so far. Not sure how much it was but I've seen em for $350 and cheaper at several places.
  14. Helix_FR

    Helix_FR Active Member

    Apr 14, 2009
    Imperial, MO
    Almost did but rented one first. Nothing but problems, jammed all the time. A friend of mine bought one b/c of the rebate and he thought it too was a good deal, he too had nothing but problems and it was terribly inaccurate. I know the 2 out of the thousands and thousands sold is not a good representation but I'm not the only one complaining about them. However I'm not on the up and up of any improvements they have made but my faith in S&W has been jaded and I think its poor R&D to market a gun that has not been put through its paces yet.
  15. Lotsdragon

    Lotsdragon New Member

    Apr 5, 2009
    Potosi, Mo
    Well for your specs I would say that the hi points are the best .45 .40 9mm .380 all under 200 though they are hard to conceal. I have two myself and have never had a problem. they are ugly as sin but have never failed me no matter what kind of crap ammo I have run through them.
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